“Who's In Charge?” - Part 4 - Who Decides?
In 1885, Woodrow Wilson left no doubt: the U.S. Constitution prevents the government from meeting the country's needs by enumerating rights that the government may not infringe. ("Congress shall make no law...") Our electoral system, empowers individual voters at the expense of "responsible parties." Thus, the Elite have always pursued an agenda to diminish the role of the citizenry's elected representatives, enhancing that of party leaders as well as of groups willing to partner in the government's plans, and to craft a "living" Constitution in which restrictions on government give way to "positive rights" -- meaning charters of government power.
The Supreme Court's 1962 decision in Baker v. Carr effectively legalized the practice of "gerrymandering," concentrating the opposition party's voters into as few districts as possible while placing one's own voters into as many as possible likely to yield victories. Republican and Democratic state legislatures have gerrymandered for a half century. Once districts are gerrymandered "safe" for one party or another, the voters therein count less because party leaders can count more on elected legislators to toe the party line.
To the extent party leaders do not have to worry about voters, they can choose members of the privileged Elite to represent those in society whom they find most amenable. In America since the 1930s, government has designated certain individuals, companies, and organizations within each sectors of society as (junior) partners in elaborating laws and administrative rules. The government empowers the (Elite) persons it has chosen and deems them the sector's true representatives, and rewards them accordingly.
In 2009-10 the American Medical Association (AMA) strongly supported the new medical care law, which the administration touted as having the support of "the doctors" even though the vast majority of America's 975,000 physicians opposed it. Those who run the AMA, however, have a government contract as exclusive providers of the codes by which physicians and hospitals bill the government for their services. The millions of dollars that flow thereby to the AMA's officers keep them in line, while the impracticality of doing without the billing codes tamps down rebellion in the doctor ranks.
When the administration wanted to bolster its case that the state of Arizona's enforcement of federal immigration laws was offensive to Hispanics, the National Association of Chiefs of Police -- whose officials depend on the administration for their salaries -- issued a statement that the laws would endanger all Americans by raising Hispanics' animosity. This reflected conversations with the administration rather than a vote of the nation's police chiefs.
Similarly, modern labor unions are ever less bunches of workers banding together and ever more bundled under the aegis of an organization chosen jointly by employers and government. Prototypical is the Service Employees International Union, which grew spectacularly by persuading managers of government agencies as well as of publicly funded private entities that placing their employees in the SEIU would relieve them of responsibility. Not by being elected by workers' secret ballots did the SEIU conquer workplace after workplace, but rather by such deals, or by the union presenting what it claims are cards from workers approving of representation. The union gets 2 percent of the workers' pay, which it recycles as contributions to the Democratic Party, which it recycles in greater power over public employees. The union's leadership is part of the ruling class's beating heart.
The point: a doctor, a building contractor, a janitor, or a schoolteacher counts in today's America ONLY as art of the hierarchy of a sector organization affiliated with the ruling class. Less and less do such persons count as voters. This has led to a significant LOSS of “Equal Treatment Under The Law”. Once upon a time, no one could be convicted or fined except by a jury of his peers for having violated laws passed by elected representatives. This situation began to disappear when the New Deal inaugurated today's administrative state: bureaucrats make, enforce, and adjudicate nearly all the rules. Today's legal-administrative texts are incomprehensibly detailed and loaded with provisions crafted exquisitely to affect equal individuals unequally. The bureaucrats do not enforce the rules themselves so much as whatever "agency policy" they choose to draw from them in any given case. If you protest any "agency policy" you will be informed that it was formulated with input from "the public." (But not from the likes of you.)
Ever since Oliver Wendell Holmes argued in 1920 (Missouri v. Holland) that presidents, Congresses, and judges could not be bound by the U.S. Constitution regarding matters that the people who wrote and ratified it could not have foreseen, it has become conventional wisdom among the Elites that they may transcend the Constitution while pretending allegiance to it. They began by stretching such constitutional terms as "interstate commerce" and "due process," then transmuting others, e.g., "search and seizure," into "privacy." Thus in 1973 the Supreme Court endowed its invention of "privacy" with a "penumbra" that it deemed "broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." The court gave no other constitutional reasoning, period. By the 1990s, federal courts were invalidating amendments to state constitutions passed by referendum to secure the "positive rights" they (the courts) had invented, because these expressions of the “will of the people” were inconsistent with the constitution they themselves (the Elite) were defining.
Recently, some Elites felt confident enough to dispense with the charade. Asked what in the Constitution allows Congress and the president to force every American to purchase health insurance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi replied: "Are you serious? Are you serious?" There should be no surprise that lower court judges and bureaucrats take liberties with laws, regulations, and contracts. Th reality is that being on the right side of the law is less important than being on the right side of the persons who decide what they want those legal words to mean.
Today, the Elites are laser-focused on reshaping the American people's family and spiritual lives in addition to their economic and civic lives. The Elite are passionately and openly aggressive in this matter like never before. It believes that the Christian family (and the Orthodox Jewish one) is rooted in and perpetuates the ignorance commonly called religion, divisive social prejudices, and repressive gender roles. This focus on family is the greatest barrier to human progress because it looks to its very particular interest instead of following those who know better.
Since marriage is the family's central tenant, government at all levels, along with "mainstream" academics and media, have waged war on it. They legislate, regulate, and exhort in support not of "the family" -- meaning married parents raising children -- but rather of "families," meaning mostly households based on something other than marriage. The institution of no-fault divorce diminished the distinction between cohabitation and marriage -- except that husbands are held financially responsible for the children they father, while out-of-wedlock fathers are not. The tax code penalizes marriage and forces those married couples who raise their own children to subsidize "child care" for those who do not. The list goes on and on.
Not surprisingly, rates of marriage in America have decreased as out-of-wedlock births have increased. The biggest demographic consequence has been that about one in five of all households are women alone or with children, in which case they have about a four in 10 chance of living in poverty. Since unmarried mothers often are or expect to be clients of government services, it is not surprising that they are among the Democratic Party's most faithful voters.
The Elite teaches that relationships among men, women, and children are contingent, but also insists that the relationship between each of them and the State is fundamental. Hillary Clinton has written law review articles and books advocating a direct relationship between the government and children, effectively abolishing the presumption of parental authority.
Within living memory, school nurses could not administer an aspirin to a child without the parents' consent, but - now - the people who run America's schools administer pregnancy tests and ship girls off to abortion clinics without the parents' knowledge. Parents are not allowed to object to what their children are taught - but the government may and often does object to how parents raise children. The Elite assume is that what *it* mandates for children is correct ipso facto, while what parents do is “potentially abusive”. It only takes an anonymous accusation of abuse for parents to be taken away in handcuffs until they prove their innocence. Only sheer political weight has preserved parents' right to home-school their children against the Elite's desire to do what Woodrow Wilson wanted: "to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible."
At stake are the most important questions: What is the right way for human beings to live? By what standard is anything true or good? Who gets to decide what?
The rejection of the American people's intellectual, spiritual, and moral substance as individuals looking out for their own self-interest is the very heart of what the Elites want. Its principal article of faith, its claim to the right to decide for others, is precisely that it knows things and operates by standards beyond others' comprehension. While the unenlightened ones believe that man is created in the image and likeness of God and that we are subject to His and to His nature's laws, the enlightened ones know that we are products of evolution, driven by chance, the environment, and the will to primacy. While the un-enlightened are stuck with the antiquated notion that ordinary human minds can reach objective judgments about good and evil, better and worse through reason, the enlightened ones know that all such judgments are subjective and that ordinary people can no more be trusted with reason than they can with guns. Because ordinary people will pervert reason with ideology, religion, or interest, science is "science" only in the "right" hands. Consensus among the Right People is the only standard of truth. Facts and logic matter only insofar as proper authority acknowledges them.
This is why the Elites are united and adamant about pronouncing definitive, "scientific" judgment on whatever it chooses. When the government declares, and its associated press echoes that "scientists say" this or that, ordinary people -- or scientists who "don't say," or are not part of the ruling class - lose any right to see the information that went into what "scientists say." Thus when Virginia's attorney general subpoenaed the data by which Professor Michael Mann had concluded, while paid by the state of Virginia, that the earth's temperatures are rising "like a hockey stick" from millennial stability (a conclusion on which billions of dollars' worth of decisions were made) to investigate the possibility of fraud, the University of Virginia's faculty senate condemned any inquiry into "scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer review standards" claiming that demands for data "send a chilling message to scientists...and indeed scholars in any discipline." The Washington Post editorialized that the attorney general's demands for data amounted to "an assault on reason." The fact that the "hockey stick" conclusion stands discredited and Mann and associates are on record manipulating peer review, the fact that science-by-secret-data is an oxymoron, the very distinction between truth and error, all matter far less to the Elites than the distinction between itself and those they rule.
By identifying science and reason with themselves, our rulers delegitimize opposition. Though they cannot prevent Americans from worshiping God, they can make it as socially disabling as smoking -- to be done furtively and with a bad social conscience. Though they cannot make Americans wish they were Europeans, they continue to press upon this nation of refugees from the rest of the world the notion that Americans ought to live by "world standards." Each day, the ruling class produces new "studies" that show that one or another of Americans' habits is in need of reform, and that those Americans most resistant to reform are pitiably, perhaps criminally, wrong.
America's Elites believe themselves qualified and duty bound to direct the lives not only of Americans but of foreigners as well. George W. Bush's 2005 inaugural statement “America cannot be free until the whole world is free” and an extrapolation of the sentiments of America's Progressive class. The Elite's default solution to international threats has been to commit blood and treasure to long-term, twilight efforts to reform the world's Vietnams, Somalias, Iraqs, and Afghanistans, believing that changing hearts and minds is the prerequisite of peace and that it knows how to change them. This has led to an apparently endless series of wars in which our ruling class has embroiled America, wars that have achieved nothing worthwhile, except a great cost in lives and treasure.
Recently, President Barack Obama apologized to Europe because "the United States has fallen short of meeting its responsibilities" to reduce carbon emissions by taxation. But the American people never assumed such responsibility, and oppose doing so. Hence President Obama was not apologizing for anything that he or anyone he respected had done, but rather blaming his fellow Americans for not doing what *HE* thinks they should do (while glossing over the fact that the Europeans had done the taxing but not the reducing). Obama "apologized" to Europeans because some Americans (but not the Elites) had shown "arrogance and been dismissive" toward Europe, and "apologized" to the world because President Truman had used the atom bomb to end World War II. President Clinton apologized to Africans because some Americans held African slaves until 1865 and others were mean to Negroes thereafter (the Elites didn't do this, of course). Assistant secretary of state Michael Posner apologized to Chinese diplomats for Arizona's law that directs police to check immigration status. Former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev tells us that in 1987 then vice-president George H. W. Bush distanced himself from his own administration by saying, "Reagan is a conservative, an extreme conservative. All the dummies and blockheads are with him..." Such actions and statement recall the Pharisee in the Temple: "Lord, I thank thee that I am not like other men..."
In simple terms, the Elites do not like the rest of America. Most of all does it dislike that so many Americans think America is substantially different from the rest of the world and prefer it that way.
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Coming next time in the “Who's In Charge?” - Part 5 -
The New Red Outsiders